By Abid Omar, Aasim Ahmed and Furhan Hussain
Why do you cause us so much grief? The recent fervor over an article pushed some former editors of Quack! to convene an international teleconference spanning 3 continents. We got together to see if this article requires a major response such as a makeover of the basic policies underlying Quack! Our discussion quickly shifted to whether North America is really a geographic entity separate from South America (yes it is), where in the world is Abid (eating lizards in Shanghai or foie gras in Paris) and whether it is possible to breathe and write at the same type (not possible for some).
Our task is daunting. The discussion we’re dealing with has swayed so far away from where it started that getting together three people from three continents was the easy part. So we thought it would be a good idea to lay out what we won’t be talking about here just so we’re clear.
What we will not be discussing
1. We will not be discussing TIP’s faculty and administration. Let’s face it, there have always been problems and always will be. That’s life. But they are doing something right to have over 700 graduates out into the industry.
2. We will not be talking about the lake, the horrible food at the cafeteria (apparently it’s not horrible anymore!) or how beautiful the fertilizer factory looks at night!
3. We will also not be discussing the pros and cons of ragging. We’ve been there and done that many a times before and one can find plenty of archives on the subject.
What we will be discussing
1. The ideology behind Quack!
2. What good journalism is about and how to write an effective piece.
3. What to do about anonymous postings
1. What is Quack! about, and who are you guys?
The vision/mission is contained in our about page, and also the first post ever made. Our role, as former editors, has been to hand over the editorship of Quack to somebody who upholds the same principles. At core is the principle to allow freedom of expression to all those associated with TIP. Sometimes we may not agree with what is expressed, or sometimes how it is expressed. However, this freedom of expression brings about an open discussion and debate, and has the potential to allow TIP to establish common ground between students, alumni, faculty and management.
Quack! offers the students, alumni, faculty as well as the management a voice. It is a medium for you to express your opinions. If you wish to be heard, sign up. There’s enough room for everyone.
2. So what! What about an editorial policy?
The role of the editor is to work with the writers to ensure that at least some minimum level of quality is maintained. This is in standards of journalism, fact checking, and in language (the boring bits of grammar and spellings). The editor is one of you, just another student in the next classroom. For the editor, who is studying textiles and not journalism, this is a learning experience too. He/she will make mistakes. And he or she will learn from this experience.
3. You guys still suck! Why do you allow anonymous postings and misinformation?!
Quack!’s policy regarding opinion and news related articles has been fairly straight forward. We have discouraged anonymous postings and gone to great lengths to encourage authors to own up to their writing. Usually, it was because writers were afraid of a backlash from the administration, and felt it was safer to hide their identity.
Commenting, however, has been a different ball game altogether. Quack! Online gives the author of any article, be it an editor of Quack! or not to monitor and edit comments on their articles. This gives the author control over the discussion generated in light of how comments refute or support the arguments presented by the author.
Which brings us full circle (that’s 360 degrees) to the reason for this article.
The recent article “DC fails to establish order,” is clearly stating an opinion based on unverified information. The majority of comments on the article are not focused around the contents of the article and are talking about matters that are irrelevant to the post. We appreciate that TIP faculty has clearly stated where they stand on this article. The writer has failed to respond appropriately, thus allowing the discussion to go into other directions. The writer needs to stand up to his writing.
At the end, Quack! Online is generally a reflection of the environment about campus. The architects of that environment are responsible for the outcome. And TIP can be proud to be having the oldest (likely) running online student newspaper in Pakistan, and also the most vibrant.